The last time I did this challenge was five years ago with my young women. Within two years, I had completed it three times each in a 92 day time frame. I put it to rest because I thought maybe it was emphasizing the wrong point. Reading the Book of Mormon shouldn’t be a hurried race. We should take time to feast. So I developed a 6 month reading schedule and a 365 day reading schedule.
But this year I started thinking of the 92 day challenge. In the words of Kevin Pearson, we should be reading the book “every day, every day, every day!” That is one thing this reading schedule promotes – daily reading because you do NOT want to miss a day and have to catch up.
I also was reminded of why it is necessary to read the Book of Mormon. In Matthew 4 we read about Satan coming to tempt Christ. Each time Christ refuted Satan’s lies he replied with three words: “It is written.” In other words, Christ used doctrine – scripture – to counter Satan.
Now plug in Lehi’s dream into the equation. The iron rod is the word of God. It becomes the only way to make it through the mists of darkness or temptations that arise. As Elder Holland points out, the mists of darkness are not selective. The mists come upon ALL people. But those who make it to the tree are those that hold fast to the iron rod despite being temporarily blinded. They rely on what they can feel rather than what they see.
We live in a time foretold by prophets. A time when Jesus warned that even the elect could be deceived (Mat 24:24). In verse 22 of Joseph Smith Matthew we read that the elect are covenant keepers. In other words, the elect are those who have made covenants beginning at baptism. They are those with a knowledge of the restored gospel being preached through prophets. This is also a time when men’s – and women’s – hearts are failing them (D&C 45:26). Unfortunately, I know this to be true because I have seen it with my own eyes with good friends.
So what do we do? We do the little things we have been counseled to do. The actions of reading the scriptures, prayer, church attendance, etc. All these little things allow us to have daily communion with the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that will prevent us from being deceived.
It doesn’t matter who we are or what calling we serve in at the moment. The remedy and prevention is the same. Neglect not the little things. We can’t afford to. In my experience I have found that the more responsibility one has the more important the little things become. Never take today’s faith for granted because it can very easily be lost tomorrow.
That is why I am doing a Book of Mormon challenge this summer from June 1-August 31. Leading up to June we will be taking a look at some testimonies regarding the Book of Mormon and the Restoration to prepare us. The intent is to help us help each other with our daily reading. It is not to replace our regular scripture study which should consist of more pondering and reflecting. As Howard W. Hunter said, “It is better to have a set amount of time to give scriptural study each day than to have a set amount of chapters to read” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter, Chapter 10, section 3). This challenge is to encourage each other to make the little things – daily reading – a habit. Our goal should be to become the elect who hear the Lord’s voice -whether by His voice or the voice of His servants (D&C 1:38) – “and harden not their hearts” (D&C 29:7).
Please feel free to join if you would like. All are welcome.